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July 10th 2014 print

George Christensen

Cackling at the Catastropharians

There really is no point in talking evidence with warmists. The smart ones have careers to advance and pockets to line. And the dim ones? They're too thick to hold down any job more demanding than that of an editor at the ABC or Fairfax. So just have a good chuckle, like George Christensen MHR

Much to the horror of the alarmist auxiliary at the ABC, the Nationals’ George Christensen MHR has dared to lampoon their sacred cows and creed, piling scorn atop ridicule on the high priests of ever-looming disaster who have plundered the public purse for so long and at such enormous cost. Below you will find the edited text of his recent address to a Heartland Institute conference in Las Vegas.

If you think Christensen is exaggerating warmist claims that minimally higher temperatures will produce smarter lizards, prompt marital infidelities and see the dead rise from their graves, click the links.


goreI am not a scientist, so I won’t attempt to prove nor disprove the impact man is having on the temperature of the planet, nor am I a climatologist. I am an elected representative in the Australian Parliament so I would prefer to talk about my constituents – what they think, how they live, and how policy around climate change has an impact on their daily lives.

I am also a fan of the television series Star Trek. Now I am talking about original Trek – where Captain Kirk knew how to deal with destructive green beasts long before the show went all liberal and the Enterprise started saving whales. So I know good science fiction when I see it, and that is what I have seen in the climate change debate – a lot of fiction dressed up as science.

Now most great works of fiction end up on the silver screen so it was inevitable that climate change would become a “major motion picture”. But screenwriters have several angles to work with and which one they choose depends on where on the climate change timeline they pick up the story. Early on in the piece, it is a disaster-cum-thriller plot as prophets warn of the impending doom of mankind and the planet. The story then lurches towards a slasher-style horror flick as ever more graphic descriptions are used to scare people into submission.

Finally, the plot descends into a farcical comedy as government and environmental terrorists make ridiculous suggestions about how mankind will control the planet. In Australia, we have crossed that point where the horror genre is descending into a comedy. The Australian political scene has been dominated — for the past seven years – by the global warming debate and the political response to hysteria.

Global Warming and its new incarnation, climate change, claimed one Opposition Leader and then two consecutive Prime Ministers in the Australian Parliament. Australia is the obvious location for filming when the next blockbuster goes into production: Climate Change: The Movie. And it wouldn’t be the first time a movie has been made about climate change.

In 1995, Universal Pictures launched the most expensive movie ever made (at the time), Waterworld, starring Kevin Costner, cost $235 million to bring to the silver screen but grossed just $88 million at the North American box office.

In you weren’t one of the few in one of those empty theatres, Waterworld is a science fiction movie with a plot so far-fetched even escapist movie-goers couldn’t buy it. In this post-apocalyptic world, the polar ice caps have melted and the Earth is flooded – seriously flooded – leaving just the peak of Mount Everest sticking out of the water.

In Waterworld, the protagonist was Kevin Costner. In Australia, we had a snake oil salesman by the name of Tim Flannery –  a palaeontologist, environmental activist and global warming alarmist. He was also appointed the head of Australia’s Climate Change Commission in 2011 on the basis of providing an “independent and reliable” source of information for all Australians.

He failed.

The Commission was also supposed to build a consensus to support a carbon tax.

He failed again, and this is the reason why he failed: None of his hysterical claims and forecasts have come true, and most have been spectacularly wrong. As the Chief Snake Oil Salesman, Flannery was supposed to build a consensus, but the more he pushed the scaremongering envelope, the more people turned off.

Flannery didn’t predict seawater level rising to a Waterworld extent, but he did say this:

“Picture an eight-storey building by a beach. Then imagine waves lapping its roof.”

If you’ve ever seen a tourism commercial for Australia, you would know every Aussie home has a sandy beach at the front doorstep and a kangaroo in the backyard. Every state capital in Australia is on the coast and more than 80% of the population lives within 50km of the coast. So Flannery cast a pretty big net when he tries to scare the wits out of coastal communities and capital cities. And if they weren’t frightened enough to buy that snake oil, he also believed Perth, the capital city of the largest Australian state, would run out of water, saying:

“Perth will be the 21st Century’s first ghost metropolis.”

This is a familiar theme in Flannery’s prophecies. He said Sydney’s water supply would be dry in as little as two years. He said “even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems.” He said that Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane “need desalinated water urgently, possibly in as little as 18 months”. Flannery’s disaster/thriller plot was turning into a horror movie.

hot knickers

But Brisbane didn’t need desalinated water because the rains Flannery said would never come did come. Floods in 2010 and 2011 forced the evacuation of thousands of people from Queensland’s capital city and more than 70 other towns. The floods we were told would never come killed 38 people and caused more than $2 billion in damages. We were told our dams would never be filled again, but Wivenhoe Dam reached 190% of capacity. Three-quarters of the state was declared a disaster zone, and the Queensland floods were followed later that year by more disastrous floods in the southern state of Victoria.

But former global warmists who prophesied about drought have now switched to become “climate changers” in order to account for floods being a sign of man’s carbon sins as well. The truth is Australia is no stranger to either, both drought and floods.

The poet, Dorothea Mackellar, penned her most famous verse about Australia:

“I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.”

Mackellar penned that verse more than a century ago. More than a century ago – in 1896 – a heatwave stretched across Australia for weeks. The death toll reached 437 people in the eastern states. And yet, a heatwave in 2009 has been sold as the worst in 150 years. This claim is assisted by a convenient “deleting” of history, which has been “justified” with claims of poor thermometer placements.

Alarmists claim thermometers were placed in the sun, and the historical record must therefore be “adjusted”. In 1896, the temperature in Bourke was at or above 102 degrees for 24 days straight. In Brewarrina, the thermometer read 109 degrees at midnight. I don’t know how you put a thermometer in the sun at midnight in Australia.

The weather and climate in Australia has not changed in the last century, but a new religious interpretation has arisen since then. Now, when we are in a drought, they tell us “lack of rain is a sign”. When we are in a flood, they tell us “too much rain is a sign”.

More hurricanes are a sign.

Fewer hurricanes are a sign.

The sky is blue. It’s a sign!

Gravity! That’s a sign, too

A new religion is born and those who refuse to kneel before the Inconvenient Altar shall be cast out.

We had a visitor in Australia two weeks ago. Al Gore popped in with his constant companion – an entourage of blizzard-like conditions – freezing temperatures that are such a constant companion of Al Gore’s jet-setting that they have inspired a new meteorological term,  the “Al Gore effect”. Canberra, the Australian capital, was forecasting a warm start to winter. But a “Polar Goretex” descended to the southern hemisphere just in time to give Al another cold reception.

Since the globe has failed to warm, alarmists have adopted the more non-committal terminology of “climate change”, which helps explain any inconvenient truths like lack of warming or record freezes. But where the alarmists, like our Tim Flannery, come unstuck is when they make specific predictions that prove specifically wrong. In response to the disaster/thriller scaremongering claims about cities running out of water, Australia built five desalination plants at a cost of more than $9 billion. Only one is operating.

Four have been mothballed. The water from these plants was going to be up to ten times more expensive for householders than dam water. But that turned out to be wishful thinking, especially due to plants that didn’t produce a drop of water. The worst offender is the desalination plant that sits idle outside Melbourne. The cost of having that desalination plant there – producing no water at all – is $384 for every single household in Victoria’s capital city.

And that is $384 every year single year — for 30 years. If it were to produce any water, the cost would increase.

Australian policy-makers were threatened and cajoled into undertaking farcical desalination projects on the back of menacing doomsday climate prophecies. You would think, after those desalination disasters, that any sensible government would be too scared to go back in the water again – certainly not without a bigger boat.

But they did.

In 2004, Energetech developed a taxpayer-funded prototype wave generator off Port Kembla, which broke free of its pylons and sank. In 2012, a second prototype, having been decommissioned, was rusting away.

But if it’s worth doing something dumb once or twice, it’s worth doing three times. This year, Oceanlinx (formerly Energetech) reported the airbags supporting a new 3,000 tonne prototype had burst and the unit had sunk. It now looks like a salvage operation will take a year to remove the wreckage of that alternative energy folly.

Having the carcass of stupidity polluting the marine environment for the next year is bad enough, but that is peanuts compared to what might just be the dumbest, the weirdest, the most bizarre attempt to fight carbon that we will ever witness. The ultimate folly would have left thousands of carcasses strewn across the continent because global warmists pointed the finger at farting camels! The climate boffins in Australia produced a 62-page proposal (editor’s note: while the link still exists, the content has been wisely hidden from view) to issue carbon credits for killing camels. Can you imagine the chaos that would be created, not just in culling the beasts but in policing the credits. There would have been an explosion of camel-culling police – regulators, inspectors, prosecutors and auditors.

And someone had already wrestled with the problem of producing more carbon in the process than what might be saved, hence a formula was devised to measure any possible net gain.

A complicated formula it was, too.

camel formula

Note that GDgv,c,j,y equals the Ground distance travelled by vehicle (gv) using fuel type (j) in undertaking the activities (c) in year (y). Also note that LPKgv,j equals the litres of fuel type (j) combusted per kilometre for vehicle (gv).

Got that?

It’s no longer a disaster movie or a horror movie. At this point, we are seriously in the bowels of a comedy. Shooting wild camels, armed with a mathematical formula and reporting to the camel police might be a job-creator, but not a climate solution. That might have been the thinking of former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard when she floated the idea of the “green police” to investigate households using too much power. Her plan was to require power companies to meet tough new efficiency standards by conducting audits of their customers and telling them to upgrade inefficient appliances. The green police were to go door-to-door, sticking their noses into everybody’s lives on behalf of a government intent on perpetuating the global warming hysteria.The Gillard government even provided $3 million in grants to organisations who could sell their snake oil for them.

By this stage, the Labor Government had already introduced a carbon tax (which they specifically promised they would not do) but then started advertising for help to come up with a reason why we needed a carbon tax and to sell that idea to the people.

If you listen to the alarmists, there’s no shortage of reasons why something needs to be done – even if the reasons are paradoxical. Even on something as simple as trees, the global-warming alarmists can’t seem to get their story straight about what the alleged impacts will be.

One day the alarmists are telling us that trees will grow slower. The next day they are telling us that trees will grow faster. One day trees will be less colourful. The next day they will be more colourful. We’ve even heard claims about trees growing on Antarctica! These are actual reported claims made by climate alarmists that have been made in the media – I kid you not.

There are plenty of other environmental catastrophes in the pipeline, according to media reports.

Global warming will:

That claim about volcanic eruptions might have been made after an alarmist support group’s hosting of an all-night volcano movie marathon. Perhaps they had watched Joe Versus the Volcano, Dante’s Peak, Volcano, SuperVolcano all through the night (and finished it off with the 2009 film – 2012) before thinking: “Wow. That would be a good thing to blame on climate change”.

It’s hard to tell the difference between an alarmist claim about global effects and the basic premise of a disaster movie plot. See if you can spot the Hollywood movies among these animal disaster plots

  • Tigers eating people
  • Different shark species interbreeding to producing a hybrid shark –
  • JAWS 7 maybe?
  • Supersized spiders with a passion for biting
  • Alligators in the Thames
  • A herpes epidemic in oysters
  • Invasions of:
    • Alien worms
    • Antarctic aliens
    • Asian carp
    • Cane toads
    • Caterpillars
    • Cats
    • Herons
    • Jellyfish
    • King crabs
    • Lampreys
    • Midges
    • Pine beetles
    • Rats
    • Slugs
    • Stingrays
    • Walruses; OR
      • All of the above

I don’t know how many of those have been made into movies, but every single one of them is a global warming claim.

And spare a thought for the penguins. Apparently

We can also expect the extinction of Wolverine (sad news for Hugh Jackman and the X-Men franchise), but the news is no better for humans. Hollywood already has a list of disease-disaster movies to scare audiences, with the likes of Outbreak, 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, Slither, Children of Men, 12 Monkeys, Blindness, Quarantine, and Resident Evil. But screenwriters need look no further for inspiration than alarmist claims that global warming will:

  • Cause stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Increase the incidence of Post Traumatic Stress
  • Cause an explosion of asthma in children
  • Cause bubonic plague outbreaks
  • Make us all fat; and
  • Release ancient viruses into the atmosphere

Apparently society is already crumbling in Africa, with a declines in circumcision and marriage due to global warming. That’s the theory of Australia’s own alarmist and Snake Oil Salesman, Tim Flannery.

According to the alarmists, if we don’t do something to cool the planet, we will see an escalation of “intelligence and spying wars” as well as rioting and nuclear war. Global warming already has been described as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. But if you really want a bizarre plot line, there’s a whole solar system and universe out there to be impacted by farting camels: According to the alarmists, global warming has already caused the Earth to tilt, changing the sun and stars we see in the sky.

And it gets worse. While there will be more asteroid strikes and more UFO sightings, global global warming will prevent contact with alien civilisations. And through all this, we will have to deal with:

And the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise will have an unlimited supply of new plot lines. According to chief climatologist for alarmist group Climate Central, Heidi Cullen, in her book, The Weather of the Future, she claims pirates will run rampant in a globally warmed world. I look forward to Johnny Depp doing “Pirates of the Antarctic”.

Finally, some movie screenwriters were obviously ahead of their time with classic flicks like Unfaithful and Indecent Proposal because global warming is already causing women to cheat on their husbands. But don’tforget that women are getting the rough end of the deal because there are also claims that climate change will kill more women than men.

Now that we know what global warming will cause – pretty much everything – let’s look at what an alarmist response looks like. Not just a thought bubble response but an actual Act-of-Parliament response. Australia’s previous government introduced a carbon tax two years ago, taxing companies $23 per tonne on CO2 emissions. The fixed price increased to $24.15 after the first year, and it rose again on July 1 to $25.40.

A shotgun inquiry was conducted into the tax, but the inquiry was given just three weeks and forced to start blindfolded. There was no legislation drafted, and the modelling that had been done on the impact of the carbon tax was not released until minutes before the inquiry began.

I was appointed to the carbon tax inquiry as an Opposition MP and had the opportunity to grill Ross Garnaut, an economist behind the originally-proposed cap and trade legislation, who had been brought in to sell the new carbon tax. I asked Garnaut: “Is it a distortion of reality to state that regional communities and industries are likely to become more vulnerable to the impacts of this legislation than urban centres due to their reliance on agriculture and other natural resource-based industries and low levels of infrastructure stock?”

He replied: “I do not think it is true.”

That was was an interesting response because I was quoting Chapter 16 of his report, Sharing the burden in Australia. Garnaut knew exactly what the impact of the carbon tax would be on industry, on businesses, and on families. He knew that a carbon tax like the one being proposed – the biggest and widest carbon tax in the world – would place Australian industry at a competitive disadvantage.

He knew that industries would be forced to close down. He knew that people would lose their jobs over this carbon tax. And he knew that Australian emissions would still go up after the carbon tax was introduced.

But he was a salesman first and an economist second.

A Deloitte Report showed that my home State of Queensland would be the worst-affected under the carbon tax. It also showed the region I represent would be the worst-affected in the state. Our main agricultural industry, growing sugarcane, would cop an $81 million slug due to the carbon tax. In an industry where 87% of the crop is exported, a carbon tax would place local growers at a competitive disadvantage. The same story applied to tourism, where the majority of tourists in the world-famous Whitsundays (in my electorate) were from overseas.

A report predicted that a $26 per tonne carbon tax would drive $266 million of domestic tourism offshore and reduce inbound international tourism by around $457 million. An independent report warned a number of mines would close down and 4000 jobs would be lost under the carbon tax. So we knew, before the carbon tax was introduced, just how much damage it would do to our three key industries.

And still it was introduced in one of the greatest acts of economic self-harm ever enacted by an Australian parliament. Of the 150 members in the House of Representatives – 149 went to the election promising NOT to have a carbon tax.

Only one member promised to advocate for it and a hung parliament meant that one person’s party – the Greens – had the power to destroy people’s lives for no benefit to the environment. The carbon tax inquiry received more than 4,500 submissions on the carbon tax but the committee only accepted about 350. I attempted to table the overlooked submissions – a two-foot stack – in Parliament but the Labor-Greens alliance denied those voices.

And so, Australia went out and led the world – in folly – and nothing happened to change the world or the planet’s temperature. We still have droughts. We still have floods. The tropics are still warm and Antarctica is still cold. In fact, alarmists are now even trying to blame the next ice age on global warming. They have to dothat because of an inconvenient truth about the expansion of ice in the Antarctic.

At the end of last year, Chris Turney led an expedition of “tourists” and climate activists to the Antarctic, retracing the voyage of the explorer Douglas Mawson. This was the Expedition of Irony because it became trapped in ice they were there to prove didn’t exist. Not only was this Ship of Fools stranded in sea ice some 70km from where Mawson landed, the ship sent to rescue them also became stranded.

Before the expedition, their claims were that “loss of sea ice is a sign of global warming”. After the expedition, their claims changed to “too much sea ice is a sign of global warming”.

It’s time we called Kevin Costner back into service! The remake of Waterworld should be re-named “Iceworld” because even if the planet were up to Mount Everest’s neck in ice, it would still be the fault of global warming.

And I’d like to leave you with one final prediction that we look forward to celebrating. Because in all of these claims, the alarmists were bound to set a deadline that they could be held to account on.

This one came from Australia’s then chief scientist, Professor Penny Sackett, who predicted the planet had just five years to avoid disastrous global warming, a claim published in Melbourne’s Herald Sun on December 4, 2009.

Less than five months out from the deadline, we are expecting the next apocalypse movie to be enacted in real life. Perhaps I will see you all at the premiere on December 4, 20-14.

Then again, I am guessing it’s going to be a complete flop, like all the other climate change disaster plots have turned out to be — or will turn out to be.